You’ve seen the pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s markets deep in the summer. They are so cute, but you pass them by because you have never canned pickles before. Fear not, waterbath canning pickles is very easy. I suggest this project for beginning canners because of its simplicity. Just note, you need to start soaking the cucumbers the day before you can them so do plan ahead.

Preservation method: Waterbath canning

Difficulty level: easy

TIP: Use pickling salt that you find in your grocery store next to regular salt. It’s in a big box and usually costs less than $2. Why pickling salt versus regular or kosher salt? Pickling salt does not contain additives that many regular salts do. These additives lead to cloudy brine liquid in your finished product. Not very attractive.

TIP: What is pickle crisp? A great way to ensure crispy pickles and not soft pickles is to add Ball Pickle Crisp which is usually sold next to canning supplies at your grocery store or big box store. Pickle Crisp is just calcium chloride with is a naturally occurring salt found in some mineral deposits. Completely safe and your finished product comes out crisp. While not required for tasty pickles, it does add to their texture. Pickle Crisp is inexpensive and also lasts forever in the pantry.

You will need clean pint jars and closures, a boiling-water canner, rack, jar lifter, canning funnel, and wooden skewer

Dill Pickles

Makes 6 pint wide mouth jars

4 lbs pickling cucumbers

1 gallon water

10 tbsp pickling salt, divided

1 quart water

3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. pickling spice

12 fresh dill sprigs

2 tbsp. mustard seeds

Ball Pickle Crisp

THE DAY BEFORE CANNING: Wash cucumbers well to remove all dirt and debris. Trim cucumbers to ensure they will stand up and fit in your canning jars. Cut each cucumber lengthwise into quarters. In a large container, mix 1 gallon of water with 6 tablespoons of pickling salt. Stir well to dissolve salt. Add cucumber spears. Cover and let stand room temperature overnight.

THE NEXT DAY: Place rack in the bottom of a boiling water canner, then place empty jars on the rack. Add water to the jars and the canner until the jars are about two-thirds full. Cover the canner and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Keep lids hot until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 quart water, remaining 4 tbsp pickling salt, vinegar, sugar and pickling spice in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Set hot pickling liquid aside to use immediately after next step.

Remove jars from canner and place on dish towel-lined surface. Place two dill sprigs and 1 tsp mustard seeds into each hot jar, and pack tightly with cucumber spears. Ladle hot pickling liquid over spears leaving 1/2″ headspace. Add 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp to each jar. Remove air bubbles and readjust headspace if needed. Wipe jar rims with damp cloth. Apply lids and bands and adjust until fingertip tight. Place jars in boiling water canner.

When all jars are in the canner, adjust the water level in the canner so that it covers the jars by at least one inch. Cover the canner with a lid and bring water to a full rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling hard and continuously, begin counting the processing time of 10 minutes.

Once full time is complete, turn off heat and let jars sit in canner an additional five minutes (this standing time allows the pressure inside the jars to stabilize and reduces the likelihood of liquid loss that could otherwise occur when the jars are removed.)

Remove jars and place on a kitchen towel-lined space. The towel will help reduce the chance of jar breakage. Do not dry the lids or jars at this point. You do not want to disturb the lids while the seals are being formed. Allow jars to cool for 24 hours before removing bands and wiping down jars. Date jars and store in a cool dry place for up to one year.

Recipe from “The All New Ball Book Of Canning and Preserving”